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Written from 1999 onwards, these essays focus on labour at the bottom of the rural economy, lacking social, economic, and political wherewithal, and their struggles to find a foothold in the urban economy. The author draws on his extensive fieldwork from India, Indonesia, and China. The volume demonstrates that this extremely vulnerable group is largely excluded from a life of dignity, stability, and decent work and the recent policies of globalization have only worsened their prospects of escape from this wretched existence. This book is crucial to the debates about labour and development studies in the current climate of globalization. It raises and answers important questions pertaining to the dynamics of life and work at the lower rungs of society.
Table of Contents
Preface Publisher's Acknowledgements List of Abbreviation Introduction: The Great Transformation in the Setting of Asia I. The Agrarian Background 1. Labour and Landlessness in South and Southeast Asia 2. The Political Economy of Agrarian Change II. Leaving the Village Behind 3. Coming to Kolkata: Pathways to a Better Life or Lost in Dead-end Alleys? 4. How to Find Space, Shop Around, and Move Up in the Informal Sector 5. Slumlands III. The Urban Economy and its Workforce 6. Industrial Labour in Post-colonial India: The Early Beginnings 7. Industrial Labour in Post-colonial India: Getting Rid of Formal Sector Employment IV. The Exodus of Rural Labour 8. The Informal Sector of India's Economy 9. Labour Migration from Rural to Urban China V. The Dynamics of Exclusion 10. Social Exclusion in the Context of Globalization 11. The Political Economy of Unfree Labour in South Asia: Determining the Nature and Magnitude of Debt Bondage 12. Myths of the Global Safety Net 13. The Eventual Return of Social Darwinism Index